Influential: How to be Great!

Being highly influential is something that does not come easy, but can be learned with the right technique and practice. Often we see highly influential people involved with politicians, sports figures or celebrities, but the truth behind being influential has nothing to do with fame or status. Being influential means  being able to understand the wants and desires and others. Every person wants to feel a sense of belonging, it’s one of humanity’s most fundamental desires. A highly influential individual will often addresses that deep desire, and go above and beyond with their words and actions. Below are three tips and techniques to become more influential in your personal and professional life.


  1. Non-Verbal Cues – Learning how to read someone’s body language is a true talent. Being able to use these silent cues to your advantage is a must in being influential. A few strong body language techniques to practice include mirroring, making a fast action, or crossing the arms. To become more influential, try mirroring their body language as you sit or stand across from them. Are they standing up tall or are they slouching with their arms folded? Mirroring them will make them feel more comfortable psychologically. Making a fast action suddenly (even if it is calculated) shows the direct manner in which you work. People who have trouble making up their mind will be attracted to those who move quickly and act decisively. Finally, folding the arms can often be seen as a defensive pose or way to step back and be less involved in a conversation. It can often mean that someone feels a bit uncomfortable or is questioning what is being said. Sometimes, tapping the person with their arms folded on the arm will cause them to notice their arms are crossed, and soon after drop them. A simple tap on their elbow as you emphasize some part of your talk can cause them to relax, and unfold their arms.
  1. Recognize Accomplishments – Acknowledging other’s accomplishment is a technique that works wonders in convincing others of your influence. Most people appreciate when they are acknowledged for something they did well or were rewarded publicly. To be influential, go out of your way to recognize those accomplishments. This is key to being remembered positively. Additionally, being sincere in your acknowledgement is essential to keeping a positive environment. If your response seems superficial in any way it can actually do more harm to the relationship. Showing a person or business that you pay attention puts you sets you apart from the crowd. A simple “Congratulations on moving into new offices!” says a lot more about the kind of person you are than much other networking or daily chatter. Use others’ accomplishments to your advantage, by being the person who highlights them.
  1. Remember Names and Details – This technique may seem daunting but the payoff is huge. You’re out at a meeting, networking event, or charity event, and you greet someone, but forget their name, even though you met last week. Not only is this a bit embarrassing for you, it tells them that you don’t care as much as the other person who did remember their name. Don’t feel bad! Remembering all the names and tiny details of everyone you meet is not just tough, it’s impossible. So how do we use remembering names and details to our advantage without trying to remember them all? Choosing a target or mark, is a strong method. Walking into a charity gala, you know ahead of time there are 5 people you specifically want to talk to. These are your targets. Things that they say, people they interact with, even food or drinks that they order are of the utmost importance to you. Everyone else, don’t forget, but don’t spend much energy trying to remember everything about the others. Focus on your target, so next time you run into them, you can mention that baseball game they went to, or that new watch they bought. It’s a great method of showing someone you take the extra time to notice, which can go a long way when it comes to showing your influence.

Combining all of the above techniques can be tough, but will give you some great results when talking to people. Being influential has a lot to do with listening and observing. Making connections between people, events and accomplishments will cause people to see you as more influential. Reading about influential people  will help you see and understand how these techniques can work together.

Max is a consultant for Point Above, a mindfulness, leadership and business coach based out of New Orleans, Louisiana.